Cyprus tourism is the country’s economic ‘heavy artillery’

Cyprus tourism is viewed as being the country’s economy ‘heavy artillery’, at least that’s the view of Cyprus’s Tourism Organization President, Alekos Orountiotis.

Speaking at a press meeting held on the occasion of the World Tourism Day celebrations on September 27th, the CTO President talked about the result of 2012’s tourist season as well as the prospects for next year, drawing attention to the efforts made by his organization to attract tourists from new markets.

Orounitotis said that total tourist arrivals for 2012 saw an increase of somewhere between 3.5% and 4%, when compared with those from 2011; correlated with this growth there was also an increase in the revenue from tourism when compared with the previous year. He also mentioned a couple of specifics about the overall numbers, saying that the number of tourists from the UK continued to decline and thus record losses, while there was an increase from the tourist arrivals from the Russian market.

He continued his remarks by projecting a significant increase in tourist arrivals from the Russian market by the end of 2012 by about forty-five percent, which corresponds to somewhere over four hundred thousand tourists from Russia.

The signs from Russia are very promising, he continued, referring to a recent CTO visit there, mentioning that it is highly likely that the momentum from the Russian market will continue, with at least five thousand Russian tourists visiting Cyprus during the Christmas season.

As for the efforts of the CTO to attract visitors from other tourist markets, Orounitotis said that they’ve focused their attention towards countries such as China, Japan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Hong Kong.

It was also noted that the CTO’s big challenge is to attract visitors from the Chinese market, considering the potential size of that market, and mentioning that an agreement has been reached in principle with a tour operator to direct thousands of Chinese tourists towards Cyprus in 2013.

The problem with getting more Chinese visitors is still strongly linked with the need to get a visa and a flight connection, however the CTO has been negotiating for a while with a major Chinese airline as well as with Cyprus Airways in order to create some direct air links between the two.

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